CFP: ‘Understanding Island Cities’: Special issue of Island Studies Journal and Island Dynamics

Despite the great progress made in the fields of island studies and urban studies over recent decades, little attention has been paid to island cities per se. Indeed, some may consider island studies and urban studies to be mutually exclusive areas of inquiry. Nevertheless, there is a strong correlation between islandness and urbanity: Over the course of human history, many important regional, global, and capital cities have developed wholly or partially on small islands or archipelagos and are almost invariably coastal (located near seas or along rivers). Physical separation from the mainland and spatial limitations along with a maritime tradition can encourage the transport of products and ideas, improved defence infrastructure, construction of social capital, consolidation of political power, formation of vibrant cultures, and concentration of population. Examples of cities that are largely contiguous with small islands include Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York, St Petersburg, Singapore, and Venice.

Another kind of island city is represented by the capital city or major population centre of larger, primarily rural islands or archipelagos. Each of these cities is affected not just by the dynamics at work in urban areas in general, but also by the special functions it gains from acting as a metropolis that provides goods and services to rural island hinterlands. Examples of this kind of city include Havana, Manila, Palermo, Reykjavik, and Taipei.

Island Studies Journal (ISJ) ( and Island Dynamics ( invite submissions to a special joint publication on ‘Understanding Island Cities’. Selected peer-reviewed papers will be published in a limited edition hardcopy format in association with the conference ‘Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos’ (21-25 October 2014, Papers will subsequently also be published as a thematic section in ISJ, Vol. 9. No. 2 (November 2014).

‘Understanding Island Cities’ aims to provide a theoretical and empirical framework for analysing urban centres located on islands. Submissions should address one (or more) of the following sub-themes:

CATEGORISATION – How can we categorise and differentiate between different types of island cities?

FACTORS OF SPACE – How is urban development influenced by the spatial limitation and/or fragmentation resulting from island or archipelago status?

FACTORS OF MOBILITY – How does physical separation from continental landmasses influence an island city’s development?

FACTORS OF SCALE – How do island cities at different spatial scales (local, regional, and national population centres) relate to one another in large archipelagic states (for instance, Indonesia, Philippines, and Japan)?

THEORY-BRIDGING – How can the theoretical perspectives of urban studies and island studies inform one another?

Papers are encouraged to utilize historical or present-day empirical examples and may make use of case studies. Papers are also urged to consider comparative and/or theoretical approaches.

ISJ is a web-based, freely downloadable, open access, peer reviewed, electronic journal that publishes papers advancing and critiquing the study of issues affecting or involving islands. A limited edition, hard-copy, print version of this collection of papers will be published by Beewolf Press ( and will be distributed to delegates at the ‘Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos’ conference in October 2014. Please note that the conference itself is wider in scope than the call for papers for ‘Understanding Island Cities’, and submission to ‘Understanding Island Cities’ does not represent submission to the conference.

For further information or if you are interested in submitting a paper, contact volume editor Dr Adam Grydehøj, Island Dynamics, Denmark at To learn more about ISJ, contact the ISJ Executive Editor, Dr Godfrey Baldacchino, University of Malta, Malta at Manuscripts, of around 5,000 to 7,000 words (prepared in the APA style, which is the ISJ house style: should reach Dr Grydehøj not later than March 31, 2014 to be considered for both the hardcopy publication plus special ISJ section. Please contact Dr Grydehøj at with information about your proposed paper before you begin writing it.

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